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Appeared on: Tuesday, February 19, 2002
TDK CyClone 121032 CD-RW

1. Introduction
TDK CyClone 12/10/32 IDE CDR-W - Page 1

Thanks Mathras for this help!

Earlier this year, TDK, introduced a range of CD Re Writers that had quite an impact on the market place. The VeloCDs were a big hit with users due to the impressive ripping speeds that they yielded (this was TDK's main advertising slogan).

The TDK CyClone follows that tradition and promises to give user's many improved features: 12x writing, 10x re-writing and 32x reading speeds. If that's not enough TDK added "BURN-Proof" technology, which eliminates coasters, and DAO-RAW! This model appears to be VERY similar to the Plextor PX-W1210A in terms of hardware specifications. We can confirm that the TDK uses the same mechanism that the Plextor uses. So the question that could confuse would be purchasers would be "Since both drives appear identical which one I should buy? ". In order to answer that question we benchmarked the TDK, Plextor and the Sanyo CRD-BP3 using the standard CDRINFO benchmark tests. Who will win? Don't rush to conclusions?

Supplied Package: The package supplied was the retail European version. This included: The drive itself, a detailed manual (covers 6 languages), a quick installation guide, two CD-R blanks, 1 High Speed RW Blank, Audio cables, mounting screws and a CD-R pen. The software supplied with the TDK CyClone was: Nero 5.0, Ahead InCD and TDK Digital Mix Master software. The drive also displays the High Speed Logo on the left hand side of the front tray, which has a blue colour adding a special paint in the drive. Using CDR Identifier we were able to determine the manufacturer for the CDR (TDK) and RW (Mitsubishi) included media).

Installation:We installed the TDK drive as a secondary master on the IDE controller of our motherboard and powered up the PC. After booting, the CDR-W identified itself as the TDK CDRW121032A. We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted. The drive was marked as being manufactured in July 2000 with firmware revision v1.02. We suspect that TDK soon will release new firmware update: v1.04 (since the drive is based on Plextor engine). Most of our tests were carried out using Nero v5.0.2.4. For the Packet Writing tests, we used Prassi abCD v1.5.169 and not the supplied Ahead InCD. InCD is based on Prassi abCD so results will very similar.

We didn't forget the TDK Digital Mixmaster v3.0 software and we also installed it. TDK Digital MixMaster is an all around solution for users. What you can do with it?

a) Play all your favourite audio music files (Wav, AudioCDs, MP3 and VQF files). The built-in equalizer will be useful for tweaking the sound, to your own personal preference. If that is not enough you can use WinAMP sound plug-ins and further tweak the output sound.

b) Rip your favourite AudioCDs in WAV and burn them directly to CD! MixMaster will rip your AudioCDs to WAV files and then burn them to either Data or Audio format.

Build-in Skin for TDK MixMasterc) Convert your entire favourite Audio files (Mp3, VQF) either to WAV files or burn them directly to CD with the click of one button. Note that Mixmaster software supports all the recording modes and options, which Nero has (test, 1-12x writing, Burn-Proof, CD-Text etc.).

d) CD to CD copy for both data and Audio CDs.
e) Record from Analog sources (convert your LPs to either Mp3 or CD).
f) Make covers for your CDs with the built-in TDK Cover Editor

After playing around with the MixMaster, we must say that our first impression wasn't positive mostly due to the complicate interface (lot of buttons). However, after some time you will become familiar with the various built-in functions and the interface. Don't forget to read the pdf manual guide, which explains in depth all of the program's capabilities.

The player will remind you of WinAMP since it offers similar features such as play lists, skins, equalizer, connection to CDDB databases, plug-ins for both visual and audio. The TDK Digital Mixmaster is actually based on the forthcoming Nero Media Player. Be warned it does limits all recording to all but the TDK CyClone drive (hence the same TDK ;).

Test Machine
Celeron 300A over clocked to 450 MHz
164 MB SDRAM PC 100
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.04
PlexWriter PX-W1210A firmware v1.04
Sanyo CRD-BP3 firmware v1.03
TDK CyClone firmware v1.02

2. Data Tests

TDK CyClone 12/10/32 IDE CDR-W - Page 2

Data Tests

Test Method:
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0: This was used to compare the TDK's I/O performance against other various CDR-W drives (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.05 for all of the tests.
- CD Speed 99 v0.75 was also used to check the drive performance with pressed CDs. For that test we used PlexTools v1.05 original CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 results:

As you can see from the graph above, the TDK drive performed very well in all tests. It produced the best Random I/O (690kb/s) and Same Sector I/O (12924kb/s) test results. The PleXWriter PX-W1210A produced the best Sequential (3680kb/s) and second best Same Sector (12904kb/s) I/O test results. The differences are miniscule and both drives are almost equal in the tests.

- CD Speed 99 v0.75 results:

Using CD Speed 0.75, we can see that the TDK and Plextor drives have identical performance results. How can this be possible? Don't forget that both drives share the same components.

However in the seek time results, the TDK CyClone drive improves upon the Plextor drive. This could possibly be explained due to the TDK having a newer hardware revision (TLA#202) than the Plextor (TLA#000) drive. The Sanyo drive does however beat both drives since it has the lowest seek times.

Verdict of data (pressedCDs) tests:
The TDK CyClone 12/10/32 is a very good performer for a CDR-W drive. In our tests it has the same performance compared with to the PleXWriter PX-W1210A. That is something we expected as both drives share the same components. The TDK's average reading speed using PlexTools v1.05 was 25.00x; PX-W1210A had nearly the same reading speed of 24.98x. The TDK had better seek times than compared to the PX-W1210A; this as we said earlier could be due to the newer mechanism. In the SCSI Mechanic tests, the TDK CyClone took the first place from both of its competitors. The drive delivered an average sequential reading result of 3.688Mb/s, which is the same result that the PX-W1210A returned. Both drives handled cache management very well and outperformed the Sanyo drive. Overall, the TDK CyClone drive will not disappoint you, as it seems to deliver the best current reading performance that you can get from current CDR-W drives.

3. RW reading tests

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RW reading tests

For the RW tests we used Ricoh HS RW media written at 10x speed. The TDK CyClone drive has slight better performance than the PX-W1210A; this however is nowhere as good as what the Sanyo CRD-BP3 delivers:

CloneCD Tests

We used CloneCD (v2.7.8.1) and three original CDs (Rally Masters, Euro2000 and Incoming) in order to test the reading time for the TDK CyClone 121032  (firmware v1.02). We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs. This is due to reading speeds being different for original media than speeds for backup media (i.e. slower). For your pleasure, we added the results for the Plextor PX-W1210A (firmware v1.04) to help when making your own comparisons.


a) SafeDisc Results:Euro 2000 (Total: 257982 sectors - 10141 bad sectors) - Reading Speed: Max



Fast Skip Error - O retries - Software Correction

"Intelligent Bad Sector Scanner" + Best "Fast Skip Error" result

Plextor PX-W1210A
 TDK CyClone


2:35 min

2:37 min


4:12 min


3:40 min

15:05 min

4:45 min

14:36 min

b) LaserLock Results: Rally Masters (Total: 321528 sectors - 6317 bad sectors) - Reading Speed: Max



Fast Skip Error - O retries - Software Correction

"Intelligent Bad Sector Scanner" + Best "Fast Skip Error" result

Plextor PX-W1210A
TDK CyClone



52:21 min

57:05 min


3:38 min

3:47 min

3:05 min

4:45 min

c) SecuROM Results:



Read SubChannel Data from Data Tracks

Plextor PX-W1210A
TDK CyClone


3:55 min





The TDK CyClone drive doesn't support reading of Subchaneel data!

Verdict of CloneCD Tests:
The TDK CyClone CDR-W drive performed as well as we expected. It's reading performance when reading protected CDs was fast and matched the Plextor when using original CDs. However, things are not the same when using backup CDs since the reading times seem to be longer. This is not so much of a problem but the real issue is that the drive cannot read SubChannel data! :(

This is a problem that most Plextor TLA#202 drives seems to have. Our Plextor drive was the TLA#000 series and didn't have any such problem. You can't really blame TDK for this because if you buy a brand new Plextor model, which has TLA #202, you probably will not be able to read SubChannel data.

4. DAE Tests

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DAE Tests

Test Method:
We used CD DAE 99 v0.2with AudioCDs in order to check DAE performance of the Ricoh drive and we compared it with the Plextor PX-W1210A and Sanyo BP3.

- Pressed AudioCD results:
The TDK CyClone seems to keep to the promise of the best current DAE performance that you can get. Even the though the drive goes only up to 24x max, it managed to sustain an average 21.02x when ripping from a pressed AudioCD. The Plextor PX-W1210A had exactly the same performance as the TDK. The Sanyo came in third with a DAE speed result of 12.6x.

- Princo 74min AudioCD:
The TDK and Plextor drives shares the first place with an average 21.6x DAE speed:

- Advanced DAE Quality

The Advanced DAE quality test puts lot stress on the motor of the drive and reveals any possible DAE problems that a drive may have. Our tests revealed a slight problem with the PX-W1210A and the TDK CyClone. We found some potentially serious problems with the Sanyo CRD-BP3. The TDK and Plextor drives shared first place with a 98.5 quality score (out of 100). Both drives gave 2 Sync errors, which cost them the absolute 100 (and maximum) score. The Sanyo drive appears to have problems when trying to read scratched or well used CDs.

Verdict of DAE Results:
The TDK CyClone drive has very good DAE performance. It will rip your AudioCDs with 21x average ripping speed and will return almost perfect wavs back.  The Plextor PX-W1210A has the exactly the same performance while the Sanyo BP3 has its DAE speed locked at 13x and cannot really compete with the other two drives.

5. CDR Tests

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CDR Tests

- Recorder properties: (Screenshot from Feurio v1.55 b4)

As we can see, the TDK CyClone drive supports all current CDR/W writing modes including DAO RAW and BURN-Proof!

Let's head over to the CDR tests now:

We tested the TDK CyClone with the latest software which supports it and with several media:

- Software used: Nero v5.0.2.4 /  Padus DJ v3.00.730 / CloneCD v2.7.8.1 / Feurio v1.55b4
- Media: Princo 74 & 80min / Ricoh Platinum 74 & 80min / Mitsui Gold& SG / TDK 74 & 80 min / Verbatim74min / Ricoh HS RW / TDK HS RW media

CDR-R Tests:
The TDK CyClone arrived with Nero Burning ROM v5.0 and Ahead InCD. We used the latest Nero version ( for all of our tests. We made a Data CD job with data slightly higher than 74mins (74:03:65). We burned the same job with all of the three CDR-W drives:

As the tests results showed, all of the drives had different writing times when using the SAME amount of data and media. The Sanyo drive had the lowest burning time and both the TDK and Plextor drives came in second (with 415 secs). What are the reasons behind these differences? This happens because some drives need more time for laser calibration and the write speed isn't really exactly 12.00x since it varies (ex. from 11.97x to 12.06x). As for the CPU Usage, the Sanyo drive (9.85%) had the lowest when burning at 12x. This is due to it being a SCSI drive connected to a SCSI bus-mastering controller. The other two drives occupied the CPU by an average 13.5%.

- 80min CDs:
As previous we created a datacd with Nero and used the same media for all burns (Ricoh 80min 12x):

As we saw previously with the 74min CDs, all three of the drives had timing differences between them. The Sanyo continues to deliver the lowest burning time. The TDK and Plextor drives again have exactly the same burning times.

- Overburning Tests:
We know from previous articles posted at CDRINFO that the Plextor PX-W1210A could burn up to 89:00mins. Surprise Surprise this is also what the TDK CyClone can burn up to!  We inserted a 90min blank (from Medea International) and using Nero, we burned up to 89mins without any problem at 12x.

- AudioCD Tests:
We created several Audio CDs (including CD-Text). All of the CDs we created were tested with the Plextor PX-40TS and Plextor's CD-Text compatible CD player. From what we saw, everything worked just fine.

- CloneCD Tests:
TKD CyClone is fully supported from CloneCD since the drive supports DAO RAW! That enables you to make safe "backups" of your favourite CDs. We used the TDK CyClone to create "backups" of protected CDs (SafeDisc, LaserLock and SecuROM) with the Plextor PX-W1210A to create the image file. ALL tests finished ok. When the CloneCD v3.0 appears BURN-Proof will become and important feature for users because it will allow on the fly backups!

- Buffer Underrun tests:
The TDK CyClone fully supports "BURN-Proof". All of our tests confirmed these claims. No matter what you do, you will not get a coaster (unless your computer crashes or have a power cut!).

Verdict of CDR Results:
The TDK CyClone 12/10/32 performed very well in all of our tests. It worked very well with Nero (TDK ships the drive with Nero) and completed all tests without any problems. Burning both 74min and 80min CDs at 12x caused no problems. Overburning also works but only up to 89:00mins. The BURN-Proof will help you in order to eliminate coasters even though the drive comes with a 2MB of buffer. Users will find DAO-RAW mode useful when the time comes to "backup" their precious CDs.

6. RW Writing Tests

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RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs at 10x RW writing speed since the drive supports the new HS RW recording standard. We created a 74min Data Job task and burned it with all 3 recorders:

The TDK and Plextor drives again returned the same times and took second place as the Sanyo drive completed the task 5seconds earlier. When the time comes to erase your HS RW media TDK and Plextor drive had the same erase times .The Sanyo had the best erase time of 39 seconds.

- Packet Writing Tests:
We used Prassi abCD v1.5.269 for all Packet Writing tests. We used Ricoh HS RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media took around 8min. After formatting, we tested all three drives for their packet writing performance. The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.1476kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same pc as the writers) to the formatted RW media-using explorer (we dragged and dropped). We also repeated the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user error:

The results show clearly that the Plextor drive has the best reading/writing speed results when compared to the other two drives. Both the TDK and Plextor drives took the same time to finish the task. The TDK drive took nearly double the amount of time to read the files from CD to HDD. However, we feel this may not be a negative point since TDK will soon release a new firmware revision. Plextor did the same thing and will improved the reading speed from Packet formatted CDs.

Verdict of CDR-W Results:
Again both the TDK and Plextor drives had the same performance results. The Plextor drive had much better reading speeds when using Packet formatted CDs, but the TDK's performance should soon also reach that level. The Sanyo drive achieved the lowest times when using RW media but gave produced the worst results when using it with Packet Writing software.

7. Conclusion

TDK CyClone 12/10/32 IDE CDR-W - Page 7


Positive (+):

Negative (-):

- Burn Proof (anti-coaster) technology
- Supports HighSpeed RW standard
- Supports reading/writing MMC DAO RAW
- Support most burn speeds (1x,2x,4x,8x,12x)
- Supports (4x,8x,10x) CDR-W re-write speeds
- Supports CD-Text
- Supports Overburning
- Very good data performance
- Very good DAE performance
- Works fine with IDE interface
- Cool design
- Great package and bulked software

- No cooling fan
- Slight worst CloneCD performance compared with Plextor PX-W1210A
- Doesn't support SubChannel reading

TDK's CyClone drive is definitely a very good drive. The drive has nearly no flaws to its reading/writing performance even when compared with the famous Plextor PX-W1210A. The drive delivers 12x writing, 10x re-writing and 32x reading. The BURN-Proof, HS RW standards and the "DAO-RAW" feature will make users very happy.

Both the Plextor PX-W1210A and the TDK CyClone drives have similar prices. That could possibly confuse users when making purchasing decisions. We will just say whatever you decide to buy neither will let you down. Both drives are equipped with the best industry features you can get at present (until next week) and both will make your burning life much easier. Read the details of the tests carefully and see which package fits in your needs. Both TDK and Plextor supplied software packages that are different. There is very little to choose from when comparing each drive directly. We would have no regrets about recommending this drive to anybody.

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